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Word Gems 

exploring self-realization, sacred personhood, and full humanity


Soulmate, Myself:
The Perfect Mate

Jenna and Michael



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Wikipedia: The Last Kiss is a 2006 American romantic comedy-drama film which is based on the 2001 Italian film L'ultimo bacio, directed by Gabriele Muccino. The plot revolves around a young couple and their friends struggling with adulthood and issues of relationships and commitment. The film stars Zach Braff, Jacinda Barrett, Casey Affleck and Rachel Bilson.

Plot: Michael and his live-in girlfriend Jenna appear to have the perfect relationship. Jenna is ten weeks pregnant, and her parents are pressuring the pair to get married, but Jenna claims that Michael's work pressures and her working on her dissertation render it an inopportune time for marriage. The real reason, unbeknownst to anyone, is that Michael feels trapped and scared. Although he considers Jenna an ideal companion, Michael is having second thoughts.


the elephant in the room


Kairissi. Some rate “The Last Kiss” as the worst movie they’ve ever seen.

Elenchus. But, we have to be careful to be fair here. There are so many strong contenders in this category that we shouldn’t give the prize away too easily.

K. I guess so. But I’d like to say something right from the start. This entire movie, to my way of thinking, revolves around a very short scene, right at the end.

E. Explain it to our readers.

K. It’s the scene with him on the porch…

K. They’re living together. Jenna’s three months pregnant. Michael kept telling her everything’s perfect, she’s perfect, their happiness is perfect, their future’s perfect. Next thing she knows, it's not perfect - he just spent the night with another girl.

E. I know there’s a lot to say here, but why do you see this final scene as the heart of the whole movie?

K. She's so furious when she finds out. He had blatantly lied to her. And then he makes a lame case for, “Can’t we just move on from this? I’ve learned my lesson now. I know it’s you that I want. It'll never happen again!” And this makes her even madder. And so he’s been camping out on the front porch for a few days. He sleeps there. She steps over him when she goes out. The neighbors feed him. He gets one sandwich from her in passing.

E. We get the picture.

K. And so now it’s raining. And like a bedraggled dog clawing at the door wanting in, he’s there scratching and begging. She remains unmoved. However, after a short while, the door suddenly bolts open, she doesn’t say a word, doesn’t even look at him, leaves the door open, retreats upstairs, and now he’s in.

E. And why is this the heart of the movie, as you see it?

K. Nothing has changed for them. It’s just acquiescence from her. It takes too much energy to be outraged all the time. It’s easier just to stop fighting and declare a ceasefire.

E. He wore her down by camping on the porch.

K. It was a war of attrition and she lost. He had too much to lose and nowhere to go for some semblance of “the good life,” and so he was staying on that porch until he got what he wanted.

E. (silence)

K. Nothing’s resolved. The old problems are still there. The neighbors are happier because it’s quieter. He has a softer bed than the porch, but this song-and-dance about “I know it’s you that I want now. I’ll never do it again!” is just barnyard manure.

E. We should remind everyone that this couple is not from the “wrong side of the tracks.” She’s working on a thesis for her doctorate, and he’s an architect...


said she married her an architect


Dan Fogelberg, Same Old Lang Syne, 1980

... said she'd married her an architect,
kept her warm and safe and dry,
would have
liked to say she loved the man,
she didn't like to lie



E. They have money to do or buy whatever they want.

K. Except what the soul wants.

E. And what is that?

K. What everyone wants, but can't seem to get.

E. (sighing)

K. These two are glossy, stand-up, poster-children of the author’s John-and-Mary soliloquies. Michael wants that “good life” so much and Jenna does too. Her problem now is that she doesn’t trust him.

E. On the other hand, as she weighs the evils, it would be very rough raising the baby alone.

K. And she probably does accept that “he won’t do it again,” but this doesn’t help her that much. Not really. She knows that she wasn’t enough to keep him home that night, and, even if he stays home from now on, she also knows he’s an unhappy stallion locked in the corral.

E. (silence)

K. But even this misses the mark. This isn't really about sex. No one in the history of the world has been happy for very long with a naked body to sleep with, if that's all you have. Their problem is, there's no joy in their personal dealings. Even when they were erotically playing around before, there was something hollow about it; not even they believed in it.

E. Jenna is a "perfect girl," a very good girl, and yet it's not enough for him.

K. She's perfect, but not perfect for him. He's perfect, too - offers everything a girl could want - except an inner joy for her deepest heart. What she isn't willing to see right now is that, even if he hadn't strayed, she'd still be headed for existential crisis.

E. The author has written four books on the subject of authentic romantic love with its avenue to meaning and purpose in life.

K. And we can’t recount all that here, but – this is the big principle for this couple, it's the elephant in the room.

E. The elephant in the small quiet room. 

K. That's right. People need to give love and receive it. We were made to live for love. And when we don’t have it, we feel the emptiness inside as a ravaging disease, and we go a little crazy.

E. John and Mary make their vows, but then drift from each other, and then re-commit and say “It’ll be different this time, you can trust me now.” And it doesn't have to be about "straying"; for many, the new commitment will be "I promise to love you more and be more affectionate."

K. But willpower cannot solve this problem. Grit and determination cannot produce the "union of spirits."

E. These two were "A" students in school, and so they're used to solving problems by trying very hard and creating their own success. That's a good thing in most arenas of life, but finding the music and serenity of one's soul, one's inner joy and solace, is not about resolve and fortitude.

K. This hard-working doctoral candidate is quickly learning a difficult lesson. In the end, if they do stay together, if she decides a truce is the best for now - she'll just open the door, without saying a word, virtually waving him in, but dismissively, and reluctantly going back to the sterile routine.


E. Kriss... have we been like Michael and Jenna?

K. Their situation is different, Ellus. But, as we’ve often said, every love story, in principle, is the same.

E. It took me so long to grow up... I'm afraid that, if we had come together early on, I would have disappointed you…

K. (silence)

E. Maybe not in the way that Michael did for Jenna, but I'm not sure if you would have been happy with me back then… I was immature... too unaware, too wrapped up in my own thoughts... I fear that I would have made a place for myself out there on that porch, with Michael, looking up at the stars.

K. Each Twin couple ... whether they know it or not... before they can come together in any meaningful sense ... are required to spend some time in a small quiet room.

K. I think Michael needs a defense attorney.

E. Or maybe a divorce attorney.

K. Maybe that, too, but - Michael is not bad person.

E. Ok, I can see you have something serious to say, so let me be quiet. You were a great legal counselor in “constructive assent,” Kriss, so tell us what you see.

K. It’s nothing new really, but a certain principle needs to be emphasized here. When John and Mary come together, they often tell each other how “perfect” everything is, just as Jenna and Michael did. They have good intentions. But none of this is sustainable – if it’s built upon a foundation of temporary brain chemicals designed to perpetuate the species.

E. Say more on this, Kriss – I can tell you’re about to soar.

K. No, I’m not saying anything special. Anybody over age 16 or 22 knows about this.

E. (silence)

K. We have talked about this before, and I don’t want to plow old ground, but what’s really on my mind is how different the real love, the true love and marriage, is compared to the mere good intentions, the promises and vows, of a Jenna and Michael.

E. It’s something that has to be experienced, and until then few will believe what we say about this.

K. I understand. It’s the exasperated message of the Spirit Guides in “The Wedding Song” – so very few, almost none, on planet Earth have perceived the Guides' message: it’s “something never seen before”.

E. As we acknowledge all this, why do you feel compelled to bring this up just now?

K. I look at the “perfect” relationship of Jenna and Michael and all I see is an accident waiting to happen. Mother Nature has designed the male to spread seed, and even though, with will-power, he might restrain himself from impropriety, he cannot help but be attracted to or even enflamed by the next beautiful girl who passes by. And yet, while Twins remain human with bio-impulses, it’s much different when you find your true mate. Elenchus, I think you should be defense attorney for Michael. Why don’t you explain what no one will believe – explain what it’s like for an enlightened male, who’s found his cosmic mate, when a pretty face crosses his path.

E. (sighing) Well… it’s difficult to put into words… however… When I see a pretty girl, my internal bio-“radar” goes into action and flashes red… just as it would with any male… this acknowledged, here’s what happens next. Almost instantly, the “perfect” new female face begins to suffer degradation.

K. What do you mean “suffer degradation.”

E. This is hard to explain; but… almost immediately, with each passing moment, she seems less attractive to me. She hasn’t changed, of course, she’s still the same beautiful girl, but, in a moment, I find myself suffused with a sense of emptiness… a disquietude and disconcertion... an unsatisfactoriness overwhelms my spirit. It is a whispering message from my deeper person, communicating, “she doesn’t belong to you, and how quickly you would tire of her, and, even more quickly, how you would begin to miss Krissi.” This happens every time, unfailingly, with each pretty face encountered in the world.

K. Every time?

E. Every time. On occasion, if I'm caught very much off-guard, the recovery may be some minutes longer, but - every time.

K. (sighing)

E. And I think what this really means is that Twins never need worry that they might lose each other to a “dream" who happens to walk by. She may be beautiful, but, so quickly, one subliminally realizes, “her name is not written on my soul.” What I have stated just now is an identifying characteristic of the “marriage that cannot be sundered.”

K. Elenchus… there is, of course, a female version of what you just said, as my side of the aisle is not immune to the wiles of Mother Nature; however… would you say that the analogy of a magnet might help us to understand? Spirit Guides speak of a “magnetic attraction” bringing Twins together.

E. A magnet well explains what I was trying to say.

K. It’s interesting, isn’t it – two poles of a magnet might appear to be identical; there’s no visible reason why one pole should act so differently than the other.

E. And there’s no visible reason why one beautiful girl might be “the one”, with another producing the “emptiness.”

K. There was no visible reason why Jenna should not have been able to sufficiently attract Michael. Ostensibly, she had everything to offer. But the true connections of the heart and soul remain invisible to the eye.